Pacifist Murray Thomson - unrelenting campaign for peace....

Pacifist Murray Thomson - unrelenting campaign for peace....

Postby Oscar » Mon May 27, 2019 2:48 pm

OBITUARY: Pacifist Murray Thomson waged an unrelenting campaign for peace


Murray Thomson, dean of the Canadian peace movement, used to explain that it took a devastating act of bloodshed to convert him to peace activism.

Having left university for air-force training during the Second World War, he had earned his wings and prepared to fly sorties in Europe, but he never saw combat. With news of the atomic bomb, he wasn’t initially concerned. His sister was in a Japanese prison camp in Shanghai. Maybe the attack would speed her release.

The gruesome realities of mass death from radiation changed his mind. A new era of war had begun. As had Mr. Thomson’s 75-year journey in search of a peaceful world.

“Hiroshima made me a pacifist,” he insisted.

On the eve of his final trip to the hospital prior to his death on May 2, Mr. Thomson was busy strategizing for his latest peace campaign and sent a final upbeat message to his long-time friend Ernie Regehr. Mr. Thomson, who was 96, had long specialized in turning his cascade of new ideas into yet another campaign. He and Mr. Regehr had started Project Ploughshares, Canada’s leading peace and disarmament group, in 1976. And now, Mr. Thomson was eager to persuade the supporters of Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (he’d organized the group a few years before turning 90) that it was time to join the Don’t Bank on the Bomb campaign. It is a project of the Dutch group PAX, affiliated with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

“I learned that we absolutely needed to be part of promoting divestment from companies that build elements of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Regehr said. “Militant and energetic to the last – there’s just a hint of understatement there.”

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